The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, October 06, 2002

AFTER THE LAST WHISTLE
not for long
Nothing like wasting a Sunday watching football all day. I love the NFL product, as do millions of others. Most of those others don't like to consider what happens to the guys who play the game, both while they're playing and after they're done. If they did, they'd see how badly players wind up after spending the first 30-odd years of their lives taking a beating at all levels of the game. If all those loudmouths who bitch about how overpaid players are considered how finite a pro ball player's career is--about 4 years on average--and how fraught with peril it is, maybe they'd shut their holes.

I've mentioned that 4-year average career stat in conversation before, and people often refuse to believe it. They always bring up the star players who have been around forever: Emmitt Smith (12 years), Brett Favre (11 years), Bruce Smith (17 years), and so on. What people don't realize is that for every one of them, there are hundreds of players no one's ever heard of, who get to play maybe 20 games and then call it a career. It's not like most other professions, where you could work for 20, 30, 40 years. In pro sports, you're lucky to get 10 years, and the physical toll will be with you for life. That's why they strive for and get the big money.